Paul Austin tests the Viper-Flex “STYX” Journey Quad Sticks in this review... and finds out why they are so popular

credit: Archant

Perhaps the only thing you need know in regard to Viper-Flex quad sticks are the number of professional stalkers who use them day in, day out. It’s a bit like a who’s who of the stalking world: Owen Beardsmoor, Alex Hatton, Tim Weston and Chris Rogers, all died-in-the-wool Viper-Flex fans.

It’s almost impossible to flick through an issue of RS without seeing the phrase: “It was time to deploy the Viper-Flex”. But why are Viper-Flex sticks so favoured over other brands? It’s all about design and durability in equal measure. While there’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the design itself, it’s really the fine details and legendary longevity of the Vipers that make them a serious stalker’s first choice.

The Journey model is the carbon fibre variant. Tubed black anodised aluminium sections top and bottom sandwich a carbon fibre central section on each leg. Lightweight and collapsible, they can be disassembled and stored in the supplied bag. When broken down, they measure just 65cm.

To be honest, I never break them down for local trips; they’re just thrown on the back seat. There’s a decent amount of adjustment available via the pop spring fittings, so you can use them seated on kneeling, but that’s unlikely to be needed unless a pre-planned seated ambush is on the cards. The core adjustment range is 1.2 to 1.95m. I’m about 6’4” and they’re perfect for me at maximum height. There’s also no complaints regarding weight, as the standard configuration comes in at 1,050g.

credit: Archant

Their main USP for me is the ease and speed with which they can be deployed. A lever on the front legs (which can be positioned left or right) allows you to open the sticks with one hand. I then drop the forend onto the front rest and step into the sticks, moving the rear yoke back under the stock to complete the mount. With a bit of practice, the process is quick and, just as important, very quiet!

The front rest is very wide so you can retain a substantial field of fire when tracking moving game, minimising the need for repositioning, which is never ideal with any quad stick. The rear yoke and main rest are rubber coated and offer a firm, flexible grip on the rifle.

When initially launched, the original Viper-Flex sticks did get a bit of abuse for whistling in the wind, courtesy of the adjustment holes in the legs, but that bug has been ironed out with the addition of Clip Grips, essentially stiff plastic sleeves, which ship as part of the package and snap over the legs, shielding the offending holes from the elements.

If you want the ultimate set-up, you can add an extra leg. In the field, this means you can leave the rifle on the quads while scanning, thereby avoiding rifle fatigue. I often deploy the extra leg when zeroing rifles on land that best suits a downward shot – further enhancing the backstop. As a zeroing aid alone, I think they’re worth the investment, delivering benchrest stability to a standing shot.

All in all, a great product. A set of quads that definitely fall into the buy once, cry once category – and come highly recommended from a sizeable selection of serious stalkers.


Price: £285.00 - Viper-Flex “STYX” Journey Quad Sticks

Price: £345.00 - Viper-Flex “STYX” Journey Quad Sticks PLUS 5th Leg